Lara Brent, a BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism graduate from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Epsom has designed a magazine to help break the stigma around men’s mental health.
Created to offer advice, guidance and support to young male university students to help them feel less alone, the magazine is also accompanied by an online forum where readers can sign in and discuss their worries and concerns without judgement.
“The inspiration behind PEPTALK came from my research into male mental health,” explained Lara. “The statistics around male suicide rates and mental illness are shocking, especially in young males – 76% of all suicides in the UK are male – so, I wanted to create something that would help combat this and offer men the support that they need.”
“There wasn’t really a platform or safe space for young males to speak out on, and unlike their female counterparts they are often told to ‘man up’ and just deal with their problems rather than speak up about them,” she added.
Lara decided to target young male university students because of the challenges that moving away to university can bring – not everyone finds themselves having “the best time ever”. In one of the magazine’s features, trained therapist Lara Myall offers advice to readers on how to combat this pressure and deal with living away from home for the first time.
'Let's Get Physical' ©Peptalk magazine
“I didn’t feel like there was enough information out there for this age group and whilst student unions will often hand out leaflets with useful phone numbers to call, there is rarely much other support out there, and on-campus counselling sessions quickly get booked up, long before males feel confident enough to reach out for help,” explained Lara. “So, I felt that PEPTALK could be the magazine to help these students.”
The magazine uses blue as the accent colour, proven to convey a sense of calm, and it offers content divided up into five sections: wellbeing, lifestyle, food, reviews and regulars. At its heart, it aims to educate, offer support and entertain its readers, as well as offering a community where they can feel safe enough to discuss their worries.
And, through focus groups, Lara discovered that males didn’t want lots of photography of muscled men, as is often found in other men’s health magazines, as it made them feel more insecure. So, Lara focused on using hand-drawn imagery to showcase the diversity and illustrate each article, rather than intimidating, full-paged photographic spreads.
Anxiety illustration © Lara Brent
The print edition of the magazine will be available this September and Lara hopes to send it out to Student Unions across the country for handing out at freshers’ fairs and around campus.
You learn more about studying Fashion Journalism at UCA, visit the course pages.